If I can chart the exact moment that I got turned off to religion, it may have partly come from my experience with Mr. Cunin (I refuse to use his rabbinic title as he makes a mockery of it). In the early 70's, I was young and searching, scarred by childhood experiences, recovering from the death, 2 years earlier of my father. I met Cunin and his Chabadnuts Friday night, Shabbat Teshuvah (of return—the Sabbath day before the Day of Atonement) 1971, on Gayley Avenue in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, California. For the next several years, I would delude myself into thinking that I could even be a part of this cult. Thanks to Mr. Cunin, I was able to break free.
First of all, I have to be honest: I was a disappointment to Cunin. He was on the west coast to perform missionary work directed at misdirected Jews. We were not human beings to him. We were all projects. Now some of the kids that visited Chabad at that time (I refer to the old pre fire Chabad House--a warm place in contrast to the new phony monster Cunin built after the original tragically burned down) actually went all the way and joined the Lubavitch sect. Those like me, who didn't join or appeared to be wavering, were treated differently. In the meantime, I had made Chabad House in Westwood my second home. At LAVC, where I attended junior college, I was instrumental in getting a Chabad House outreach booth on campus. Yet, something was wrong. At times, I felt my new Chassidic "mentors" were not taking me seriously, and at times I felt they were out right disrespecting me. One of Cunin’s associates, Mr. Stillman, used to call me a piece of shit all the time as a joke for example.
Then it came that day on the second day of the holiday of Shavuot circa 1972 or 73 (near the height of my association with these clowns), I was invited to "farbreng" (gather) with the major players at that time, at someone else's private home about a mile and a half or so away from the more public Chabad House, south of Wilshire Blvd. I, little old me, the piece of shit, was allowed to be included in this close yichidus (audience alone) with the holy and illustrious leader in the fight to bring those wayward Jewish Youth Nut Jobs like Gary Yisrael Perl to the fold, that man of Torah, that Ba'al Gu'ola of the generation Shlomo Cunin (Yi Yi Yi Yi). I actually really felt this way at the time. Believe me, if there is one reason I should hate myself is that I was taken in by these pricks.
Let me finish my tale.
The living room/ dining room was spacious with a long table like the kind Jesus and his disciples would sit at, only wider and more oval shaped. Here the group of us sat around it: the host, me, Mr. Schwartz, Mr. Stillman, another student or two like me I believe. It is in a fog, and our hero, the big Cunster himself. I will never forget how Cunin let loose. I saw a side of him that if he had been a hippy instead of a Chasid, he'd be shoving LSD up his ass instead of drinking all that shit he drank that afternoon into the early evening. Oh, don't get me wrong. it was a fun afternoon of singing and talking, relating stories about the great leader of Chabad, the big MO MO himself, the God Father of Pirke Avoth, the Rebbeola of Rock and Rolla, his royal holiness Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneersohn. To tell it, this man never wiped his ass in his entire life. Everything that came out of him was simply pure holiness.
While Cunin led the mini farbrengen, telling tales of his Rebbe and singing and banging on the table, he partakes of the food and especially of the drink. What's a good Chasid worth without some good mascka (booze)? At one point, he sadly reflected on being so far away from his Rebbe. He was referring to Jerusalem east. Seven-seventy Eastern Parkway, in the Crown Heights section of Brooklyn, NY, was the headquarters of Chabad's world leader. In his telling of this tale, he wanted us to know that there were even greater leaders then he and even greater farbrengens (Chassidic gatherings). He wanted me and the other invited students to want to long for Crown Heights as if the very mention of its name would give us erections that the likes of Rachel Welch, Jane Fonda, and Ursula Andres could ever hope for.
It could have gone on and on like this, but then that master party animal, the Cunster, gets a hold of a bottle of Sabra Liqueur. The man always was claiming how much he loves all Jews. What can be wrong, then, with a potent potable that is made in Israel, is Kosher, and is named Sabra no less? I remember how excited the Cunster was when he opened the bottle.
He offered to share.
I took a taste and immediately knew that had I gone further, I would either be shitting or puking or both at some point later that day or that night. That didn't deter my hero. He drank with gusto from the bottle. That Sabra stuff had a thick sweet syrupy taste, not designed to be chug a lugged the way Holy Cunin was doing it. I had to hand it to him. How many different forms of booze did he drink that day into the evening, I will never know, but the fact that he was still standing by the time we left after dark may have really been the sign I needed to push me over into that blissful land of gaagaa doodoo reeebbeee because only a Supreme Being was allowing this man to stand right now. Had he decided to sleep it off at our host's, I may just have tilted into the oblivion of Rebbe cult worship. Instead, he insisted on getting home to wifey poo.
I don't even remember how I became the designated walker for Cunin, but there I was, standing next to a burly Chassidic character with wild beard, wild eyes, long coat. He could barely stand. He had to lean on me, like in the song. But I was proud, glad to do this for one of the “mentors” I looked up to at the time.
So began that trek a mile and a half or so back to his house to the arms of his wife north of Wilshire Blvd.
Not Quite If only it could have been that easy.
If Cunin did not lean on me, he would fall or stumble. He must have been over 200 pounds, at least which is how it felt to me as he leaned on me, and we both stumbled along, only I was completely sober. By the time we got to Wilshire Blvd., the Cunster really broke loose. Somewhere in the middle of the blvd., he began to rant and then without any warning, he opened his long coat, whipped out his cockola and took a long piss on Wilshire Blvd. Had a cop been around, our long suffering holy hero would have been arrested for indecent exposure and drunkenness in public, plus public lewdness. The fact that I was there standing watch over him saved Cunin from a fate worse than having to view all of John Voigt's movies while having a big butted Mistress grinding in his groin.
He did his piss and hid his cock before it was seen. The long coat helped. You could hide an elephant gun in that thing. He took my arm with a hand that held that cock and I, in retrospect, wished the guy took seriously the rule to wash hands before handling the employees. The hands holding me for support were one thing, but the breath later was even worse. A few blocks down from the stream of piss he left, Cunin hunched over. That Jewish made sweet Sabra Liqueur was now taking effect in the worst way possible. With the same gusto that this “chazzer” drank the Sabra, he was now puking that and the food and everything else he consumed with even more gusto. He puked long and copiously on Wilshire Blvd.
For Goddess’ sake, slime ball! What did Wilshire Blvd. ever do to you?
In the wake of the Cunin Body fluid dump on Wilshire Blvd., we continued our slow march to his home. This time, I could smell the vomit mixture of food and Sabra on his breath. This stench came from that same mouth that gave these inspiring sermons every Friday night. He used to rail against us misguided folks who wanted to do our own thing. If I knew that I too could piss and vomit on a major city thoroughfare, and get away with it simply because I say that I am religious, maybe I was a fool for rejecting it.
When I finally got Cunin to his door and safely into the arms of his wife, I don't remember him thanking me. But again, the man was simply plastered. Years have passed since this incident. Had I not been there for Cunin that night, he may have spent a few years in jail, a reputation ruined, instead of being this big phony mocher with a yearly telethon of his own and who can brag that Jon Voigt is his friend. Cunin never saw a Jon Voigt film in his life. His sect shuns movies as a waste of time. If Jon Voight wants a true friend, he should look me up. I have many of his movies in my expansive DVD collection. In that way, I support Jon Voight better than Cunin ever did. But that's not important.
When I was needed, I proved that I could be responsible where he (Cunin) was not. I look back over the years. I was 22 or so when the above incident took place. Now I am sixty. Cunin never thanked me for helping him that night. He probably doesn’t even remember it. Instead, in a show of typical Cunin gratitude, which is kind of like being punished for a good deed, he yelled publically in my face at his first Chabad Lubavitch fundraiser.
I was standing beneath the stage setting up my cheap little tape recorder to tape the songs when a furious Cunin hovered over me, screaming at me to remove my tape recorder and get the hell away from the stage. I still see him towering over me from the stage, screaming at me like he never knew me, like I was some little scum he could step on.
I remember being disillusioned by much of Chabad Lubavitch after I lived in Brooklyn for a number of years. I made Brooklyn my home but ultimately not the religion.The first time I returned disillusioned from Brooklyn and visited Chabad House in LA one Friday night, Cunin still was great at doing his little lessons during his so called rap sessions. I learned that night that the rap sessions were really about listening to him and not about having any rap at all or even your own opinion. It was more like a rape session. That night, I told the assembled crowd that some of what Cunin was saying about the Crown Heights experience was not true. His response was to say that I should talk to my psychologist as if making me seem as if I had a psychotic problem would discredit me in front of this new brood of unfortunates. To set the record straight, I never had the honor of reaching the apex of “misagos”: Psychosis. I will admit I have been more neurotic and borderline than anything else, but that did not stop me from finishing my exhausting New York City Public School Teaching career after 28 years.
The next time I saw Cunin was in Crown Heights at the Rebbe's farbrengen. I had learned that outsiders could sit at the middle tables at the foot of the raised area where Reb Schneersohn sat. When I saw Cunin and he saw me, the first thing that came out of his skuzzy smelly pubic faced lips were, you, (meaning me) are not allowed to sit here. I looked at him and simply said: I will sit where I want to. (which by the way was not true. I could not sit where I actually wanted to since all other seating or standing areas were reserved). Saying that to his face and his reaction helped me realize just what a dumb tool I had been. He walked away. I am sure, if he wanted to, he could have removed me from there himself, but he had the good sense to just walk away and let me sit where I was told that I could.
The last time I saw Cunin in public was in the new improved Chabad house. He kept playfully punching me, asking me when I would become a mensch. I wanted to ask him if he had pulled his cock out again anywhere else or had he thrown up or pissed on anything again?
One day about 10 or so years ago, I am channel surfing, and who do I see on cable, the face of the drunk, the hypocrite, the true piece of shit, Mr Shlomo Cunin's Telethon.
Jerry Lewis, help us now!
There he was on my innocent TV, his dark beard now gray. It is simply scary how time just passes. I could not get over it. Cunin on my TV 40 years across my life? I was laughing my ass off at the irony. And then I did what I never had the power to do with him before. I switched the channel.
In any event, much has happened to deter me from religion since the Wilshire Blvd. King David Yarziet Incident. Cunin and others have faded into memory. They can't hurt me anymore, but who knows how many others they have hurt or will hurt. Yeah, I know that they raise a lot of money and so do many gangsters, but that is what Cunin has always been good at, raising money for his group and for their causes. I won’t deny that this schmuck did some good. That is to his credit. He was not meant to be a mentor or someone you would follow in the religious sense on the other hand.
In the end, I have to take responsibility for being naive in the first place and making more of these people then they were. I don't use the term "these people" in the pejorative sense as in Jewish People. I am still very much a member of the Jewish people and never deny it. I just want nothing to do with the religion in any of its forms. I especially do not want any members of the clergy telling me how to live my life. In fact, I want no member of the clergy near my death bed or at my funeral. In my mind when I think of why I despise the clergy, Mr. Shlomo Cunin is one the first that comes to mind. I never knew that “Shlomo” was not his first name. It is “Baruch” . That makes Cunin’s initials “BS”. The truth is in the name.
In part, thanks to my helping him that fateful night, Cunin is the man he is today and not a bum which is what he really is, and while he can put a big show on for his public and make them all think he is holy, I know different. I've seen the scumbag with his pants down, well actually with his zipper down. I realize that all of this is past, and I should not even think about it, but for a good young time of my life, my twenties, I was religious and looked up to morons like Cunin. I just needed to get this out of my system. Someone needs to know the kind of prick, the kind of gangster this putz really is. And if they are trying to get into religion, they should put 1000 miles at least between them and this evil hypocrite. Now that I said it, I can forget him and go on with what remains of my life.